Tuesday, December 29, 2015

End of year meme.

Time again for my year end meme. I've removed a question or two because it is my blog and I can. If you had a great year, good for you! You fared better than 98% of the rest of the planet! If you had a bad year, take heart, it is over.

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?

Let's see: I learned how to "ride" a bike. Or rather I learned how balance wobbily upon one. I visited Chicago in winter and survived their worst snowstorm by watching Law and Order SVU marathons in the hotel room, I chopped all of my hair off into a pixie cut that I've only ever talked about doing for most of my adult life. I commuted more miles than I ever have between Patchogue and Elwood and Manhattan and Queens and back again. I got into a car accident on a major highway with a Mack truck in my Fiat and lived to tell the tale. I ate a Belgian waffle in Belgium while running down the street to take a Belgian beer tour after which I danced until sunrise with an actual French man actually named Luc. (He was really only missing a jaunty beret and a loaf of bread.) I climbed up a Dutch windmill (in actuality, not in some gross metaphorical way..if that's a thing.) I met more than one person I admire immensely including, but not limited to Win Butler, Gloria Steinem, Caitlin Moran and I "met" John Slattery when he held open the door for me, haha. I saw my little brother get married. All of these are things I'd never done before.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My resolution this year was simple: let go and take risks. I did that, in spades. And it was pretty great. Next year my plan is to keep on keepin on.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes! One of my best friends, Marianne gave birth to Miles and Jessi gave birth to baby Amelia, my cousin Lauren gave birth to Noah. 

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My beautiful grandmother Marina Castro and I miss her every day.

5. What countries did you visit?

Belgium and the Netherlands. 

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

X-ray vision, the ability to read thoughts and an unlimited supply of Belgian street waffles.

7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March 31st, the day my grandmother passed away after a long illness.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Finishing most of my novel and doing social things alone without feeling the least bit self conscious.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not winning the Nobel Peace Prize. I'll always regret it.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Amazingly enough nothing. I'm not counting getting more head colds in my life this year, all in the months of October and November.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My tattoo. I love it.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My siblings have been there with me and for me more than ever this year. 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Donald Trump and that one guy who, after the car accident I was in, looked at me and laughed and went to the big strong man who hit me and asked what happened. Fuck you, guy.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Travel, commuting, food.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Books. Traveling. Living in NYC.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?

It was a late entry but "When We Were Young" by Adele since I have cried each of the handful of times I've listened to it. It is an involuntary reaction. It doesn't hurt that it is a bittersweet song that is tragic and nostalgic and I might start crying again.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

happier or sadder? happier
thinner or fatter? thinner
richer or poorer? richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

I think I did the right amount of things the right amount of times.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Worrying about the future. It takes so much time and energy from the present. (Same as last year. Same worry, same regret)

20. Did you fall in love in 2015?

Define love. Normally my years are peppered with brief crushes but nothing major, as though my love life were a Hallmark movie. This year was bit more basic cable. 

21. How many one-night stands?

Do I count the orgies? Then 11. If not, then 2, though orgies can get a bit confusing, as I'm sure you're aware.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Mad Men, as it has been and ever shall be, world without end, amen. (same as last year) 

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

No. Hate is still a waste of time.

24. What was the best book you read?

"The Tsar of Love and Techno" by Anthony Marra. Uncontested champion in my reading year.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I loved, loved, loved Father John Misty's "I Love You Honeybear".

26. What did you want and get?

 Productivity and to make strides in the art of self-confidence.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

My film watching was pathetic. I enjoyed "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl". It is the only thing that sticks out at the moment.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

39...time keeps creeping, through the neighborhood...
I spent two days before my birthday getting my first tattoo and it took all day. Well, it took three hours and then my siblings got one too and THAT took all day. Also, it really, really hurt. I also got a little too drunk at my local bar in the company of my friends. It was unique in that I was a year older than million other times I have done this. Maybe in my 40s I'll learn to grow up and go to, I don't know, the opera?

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Nothing. I'm ok with things.

30. What kept you sane?

Working. I worked a ridiculous amount of time this year. 

31. What political issue stirred you the most?

Reproductive rights and sexism. Gun control. Racism. Same old shit.

32. Who did you miss?

Old friends who live far away!

33. Who was the best new person you met?

I meet pretty remarkable people every year.

34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015:

It is always, 100% of the time, better to take the risk and be disappointed than to shy away and do nothing. I will always, always prefer rejection from trying than that horrible place I used to live which was called Ifonlyville.

35. What was your dirty secret this year?

That I like that Justin Bieber album.

36. But what species are you, really?

I'm a cat in human clothing. Or rather, Meow meow meow meow meowmeow meowmeow.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

If I could pass you a note, this would be it.


Do you ever get the feeling, deep down at the bottom of your belly where all your decisions are made, that something is just about to happen? That's me lately.

I wouldn't be able to definitively tell you why or how or what is going to happen; I have perpetual irons in a variety of fires. I have ideas of course. I only  know for certain that I have lifted myself from bed each morning in recent days and just felt that whatever I'm doing, it's the correct thing to be doing. I don't normally feel that way. In fact, I can't remember the last time I did; most of my life has been decided on the fly and a "let's just choose something and then see what happens" kind of method. (That has both served me well and also led to mild disaster.) But lately, there is a creeping optimism that usually accompanies the fireworks display of being infatuated with someone you just met: distant and loud and bright and totally unreachable.

This is the prime time for things to happen and I feel unusually open to the experience.

I just got a junk email from Staples with the subject line: You have been chosen. So there's that.

How are you feeling these days? Want to hang out?

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Pre-work Haiku

Hi. Today might blow
Because free toys will always
melt humanity.

My coworker just came in this morning and dumped a pile of Advil on the reference desk. There is a lot going on today. And it is all for the kids. I'm glad the kids will be happy but I'm still working on a way to have only kids allowed and not their parents. Because, and no offense meant whatsoever to non-annoying parents out there, sometimes parents ruin everything. Most kids are happy with the box the toy came in. And I get that parents want the best for their kids. I'm just mildly suggesting that perhaps a free toy giveaway at the library is not the place to flex those "I want the world for my kids" muscles. Perhaps you could cast a vote for a politician that has your children's interests at heart? Or maybe, I dunno, teach by example to not expect things worth having just handed to you? Or just teach them some gratitude when something IS just handed to you? I'm just spitballing here. Also, when something is free, it automatically precludes any and all complaints regarding the quality of the item. I mean if you are given something for free and it turns out to be good quality, go ahead and be happy about it. It is unexpected and that's how it should be. I can envision already later today that people will complain about the "quality" of the FREE toy their child was GIVEN...for free. You may think I am jumping the gun with this complaint since the toy giveaway hasn't happened yet. However, you'd be wrong because during sign ups for this program, the complaints already began. Just...hold me.

And maybe bring me a waffle. A FREE one.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Wasted dream, shared spaces and I've had a pretty cool year

I'm a little annoyed at my subconscious this morning. A more futile feeling doesn't exist. It's just that if one has to pee in the middle of the night, one's subconscious works that into the dream one is in the middle of and I'm ok with this as long as it could limit itself to just a hint. Like, say you are dreaming it is the 90s again and you are young and dewy eyed again and the college campus where you truly grew up was unchanged and you were walking around seeing familiar sights and loving the gift of time travel that only a sleeping brain can conjure and suddenly you pass a bathroom and the dream you says "I'll just pop in here for a sec but don't go anywhere because I will be RIGHT back." And then the you that lives in on this plane of existence could stay sleeping and effectively find the toilet and not lose the momentum of your dream, then FINE. I would be totally fine with that. But brain, and I truly mean this, don't waste an ENTIRE dream on the search for a bathroom, the locating of that bathroom and then the inability to use that bathroom for a variety of reasons because that's just going to put me in a bad humor the rest of my morning. Like, I could have ridden a unicorn while having sex and eating ice cream. Just bookmark that for later, mkay?

I have the day off from my full time job because I'm working Saturday, for a change. In recent weeks I've been coming to Manhattan to take advantage of a writing space that my friend Nancy told me about. It is in an ancient building in Union Square nestled above a bartending school, at the top of approximately 7,000 stairs. There is a silent space, overflowing with ergonomics and flat surfaces and a decided lack of distractions (the internet notwithstanding) and it is very conducive to concentration. There is a kitchen with a fridge and a kettle and toaster oven and a dishwasher. There is free coffee and tea and little lotions in the bathroom. I am grateful for this space. I have gotten a lot of writing done here and a lot of work for my many, many jobs here as well. However, because it is a shared space, there are minor issues that make me understand why we can't all just get along. Some people never learned how much space they occupy nor how to adjust that space to accommodate anyone else, either physically or in their actions. For example, somewhere in this room there is a man who slams what I envision are meaty sausage fingers doing what I can only assume is this:

...only nowhere near as charming as Ron Swanson. And there is only one restroom. For quite a lot of people. Yet I still dare to expect that the seat will be lowered after a gentleman uses it. Or the pee will be wiped from the surface of the toilet seat after a gentlewoman uses it. I've always suspected my expectations are too high. Also, people walk heavily. Now, unless you are in possession of a titanium appendage on either leg, this is something you can control, yes? The pressure at which you walk is not set in stone; it changeth like the moon's face. Again, I could be reaching for the stars here, but is it possible that, when walking through an ancient, creaky building, in a room that is specifically set aside for silence and concentration, you could, I don't know, walk lightly. Or at least not practice goosesteps in the name of your forthcoming WWII novel. 

Still, I feel a bit douchey complaining about such things. I did just go into the kitchen to find free bagels. Also, I'm literally sitting in the same room as the actor who played Roger Sterling on Mad Men. He just held the door open for me and smiled and I'm sorry, but this is the coolest fucking thing to happen to me this year and this is the same year I lived in NYC again, rode a bike for the first time, met Gloria Steinem, got pulled into a secret room at Sleep No More, got a tattoo and went to Amsterdam. 

I just reread my last paragraph and if I ever complain about anything for the rest of the year, you have permission to tell me to shut up. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Dieting, Dancing and Being a Big Fat Baby: An Update of No Consequence

It's been awhile. Last time I really updated in here I had passed a watershed moment in my writing life. I went further with it but did not "win" the month of November. No matter, I wrote more than I've ever written in my post-undergrad life and I've got a solid base to keep myself going. I shall finish my book. And then spend 30 years editing it.

I just watched Me and Earl and the Dying Girl film which was based on the excellent novel of the same name and it was a really beautifully shot, beautifully told and heartbreaking story. Some of the shots were really unique and the actors were so talented, I found myself lost in the story again. And crying. Like a big fat baby.

I'm on a Facebook diet. Like all diets I've ever been on, I'm immediately cheating. But honestly, I only read Facebook for the statuses. In fairness to me, I have a lot of witty and smart and informed and intelligent people on my feed. And how ELSE am I supposed to keep tabs on my fake Facebook boyfriends? I know what you're thinking: But Allison, if you just stopped being a huge dweeb and "put yourself out there" you could have an off-Facebook boyfriend. And I hear you. I truly do. The problem is when I try to practice what you preach (and by "you" I mean the other voice in the other part of my brain...the one that isn't a hot awkward mess) I end up turning into some version of a drunk 1920s flapper and an 80s robot. These are two things that do not go together so in addition to the sometimes jerky movements of my body when I get nervous, I am at war with awkward metaphors inside my brain 80% of the time. Besides, I DO put myself out there. I go out dancing, often to sad gloomy new wave pop and punk whenever I get a chance. And I meet tons of people. And none of them are serious because you can't meet anyone serious while dancing which is just contrary to common sense. You can pretty much tell immediately the kind of chemistry you have with someone when you dance with them. I feel like dating should have a compulsory dancing phase. Like a phase of a new relationship that comes right before the "going away together for the weekend" phase because frankly, all that matters to me is that a guy is willing to dance and I'm not going to pack my overnight bag and sit through an argument about directions if I'm not gonna get twirled around the floor a bit at the end of it. I can pretty much tell things won't work out if you refuse to dance out of fear of looking foolish or just because you are a killjoy of the highest order. I have first hand experience with this. Anyway, what the hell was I talking about? Oh yeah, Facebook. I'm not going on there for the time being. Or am I? I mean. I'm posting this. And I have to go on there for work. So I'm totally off Facebook. And carbs.

So, apparently not going on Facebook four hundred times a day has caused my stream of consciousness to idiotize. I made that word up just now. I can do that because I'm not looking at your Facebook profile right now.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Bernard Malamud on how to write.

"There's no one way-- there's too much drivel about this subject. You're who you are, not Fitzgerald or Thomas Wolfe. You write by sitting down and writing. There's no particular time or place--you suit yourself, your nature. How one works, assuming he's disciplined, doesn't matter. If he or she is not disciplined, doesn't matter. If he or she is not disciplined, no sympathetic magic will help. The trick is to make time--- not steal it---and produce the fiction. If the stories come, you get them written, you're on the right track. Eventually everyone learns his or her own best way. The real mystery to crack is you." --Bernard Malamud

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Just something to read

I have surpassed the 25k mark for my novel. I have never written this much in my life. I'm so chuffed at the word count that I'm not even especially concerned with the fact that I am going to have to basically rewrite the whole first draft! Well not rewrite it but....there is a lot of editing that will need to be done. Still, I see the ending in my head so clearly and I've never seen that before. Plus, I am making myself laugh, cry and develop back problems in the process. It is all about the process anyway, right?

At work today I helped an elderly Haitian man who is a regular at this library. He's a retired academic and speaks about five languages, all heavily French accented and he is the sweetest man ever. Today after I looked up a bunch of Umberto Eco titles for him (normally I just answer questions about why the scanner doesn't read the library card number) he handed me an envelope and said "This is a gift for you, my friend. Just something to read." I was surprised but I always welcome gifts involving reading so I thanked him and he left.

My curiosity would not allow me to wait until closing time to look into the envelope and it turns out he had copied an article about the Citadelle La Ferrier, a former fortress, now "tourist attraction" in Haiti. The article was from the Journal of American Architects in 1928 and described the storied history of the Citadelle and was utterly fascinating. I'd say I could make it a destination to visit but honestly, am I going to be able to visit Haiti, ever? On his way out he told me to save my money so I could visit one day. Also, I'm a little bit in love with the Haitian professor, as I call him in my head. Then again, I fall a little bit in love with anyone who gives me things to read, watch, listen to and learn. I've decided I want to be the type of person, when I'm old and lonely, that gives people things to read. No one will read them, of course, but I'll do it anyway.

And now, just like Mary in Beford Falls, during her unfortunate, miserable, grey, depressed spell as a librarian without George Bailey's emo angst in her life, I have to close up the liiiiibrary!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Planetarium Pangs

My surroundings are relatively quiet, that level of quiet that I can manage. Total silence is totally unnerving to me. I have to have some beacon, however faint, that someone else exists somewhere. I wish I could devote the entire morning to writing but in about two hours, everyone is coming in here to take the world up a few decibels. My first instinct on entering work today to the news that nearly everyone was at a meeting and that I'd have most of the space to myself was not to run around in my underwear screaming (though I've had that inclination more than once since starting here) but rather to sit quietly at the computer and write. I think, just like a runny, smelly Roquefort, I've aged.

I've been writing my book and so far have been pretty consistent with my word counts. I'm at about 13,000 words so far and my novel is all over the freaking place but I'm getting the story down. It is way harder than writing has ever been for me. I would much rather work for several weeks on a poem, or a few hours on a blog post than try to take a big story and pare it down and transform all the pieces into a whole.

In that spirit, I need to take a trip to the planetarium soon. I find myself wanting to look up at the night sky and actually see something other than the glare of buildings. I like that you can walk in there and there's the universe, explained, whittled down and categorized, displayed in models and maps and illustrations. I also love that I am free to contemplate endless darkness and undying light for a few hours and then step outside and do something utterly mundane, like eat an apple. The universe is terrifying; the universe with a ceiling is slightly better. Don't get me wrong, I tend to get nihilistic after visits to the planetarium. Something about contemplating that timeline that is displayed in every single planetarium in the world that draws the scale of the known universe from the big bang to the puny amount of time that all of humanity has existed demands that one lie down for a spell. Still, it does a mind some good to tap into the void every once in awhile.

So who's meeting me there?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Just F*cking Write.

The methods by which I procrastinate and find distraction truly astonish me. If I had my druthers (or if I could finally figure out exactly what druthers ARE) I would be able to remove this sense of urgency I have to do, make, show, absorb and go, go, go. A life without urgency...I have absolutely no idea what that would be like. I firmly believe that in those moments when I'm not doing anything in particular, my brain has decided to shift into self preservation mode. Because if I'm not distracting myself with diversions carnal and spiritual (but mostly carnal), I'm thinking about doing it or planning what my next one will be. This is really just no way to live, despite the fact that most people live this way.

 Right now I'm faced with one hour to further along my book, something I began last week and made significant progress on. And instead of doing that, I've been distracting myself with utter nonsense. This is likely because I know precisely how I want my story to begin and end. The plot is complete. It is the unfurling of that plot, the placement of my anecdotal storytelling into some coherent format that would make someone other than me and like three other people read it and enjoy it. It is extremely difficult for me to turn off my internal editor and just do what I'm bidden to do: just fucking write. Just. Fucking. Write.

I sincerely need someone in this room with me to tell me to stop doing anything but write. Stop shopping online, stop fantasizing about that cute guy, stop investigating random factoids like Buster Keaton's filmography (for like, 30 minutes), stop making lists of adult education courses I'm definitely going to take this winter, just stop. Just fucking write.

And I just don't think this blog entry counts. Or does it? I heard if you spend a lot of time writing about the inability to write, a tree falls in a forest and someone hears it. Or an angel gets his wings. Or the call is coming from inside the house. Or something I don't know. I just know that one particular thing doesn't happen: your novel doesn't get written.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Run from Rabbit

Rabbit, Run (Rabbit Angstrom, #1)Rabbit, Run by John Updike
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was my first foray into anything Updike and I've got to say, while I truly appreciate his way with prose ( a lot of the passages in here border on poetry, usually when describing something as seemingly mundane as a trip to the corner store), I actively hated the main character, Harry Angstrom by the end of this book. He reminded me very much of someone I know and maybe the whole abandoning your family because you're all jacked up about the meaningless of your small town drudgery doesn't really gel well with my personal sensibility (the abandonment part, not the drudgery...THAT I get) but I kind of wanted to take old Rabbit by the lapels and shake him.

I just don't know if I can continue on with the sequels of this. I'd rather watch Mad Men for this kind of energy.

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Year of Firsts

I do not even remotely have an answer for why Faith Hill's "Breathe" is in my head, on repeat like a contemporary country miniature pitchfork stabbing into my brain over and over again.

But it is.

In other news, work has been....nevermind. Lemme esplain. No, no too long. Lemme sup up: work has been just like having Faith Hill's "Breathe" stuck in your head with no explanation or relief. But no matter. Soon it will be Friday and then Halloween and I will be free to roam the streets of the city of my dreams, dressed like a damn fool, sneaking tiny pieces of candy bar and having a cocktail while dancing. I'm so glad I'm still so immature.

In a way I am glad I made the pretense of blogging every day this past month. Though I failed (mostly), I did get a lot of blogging done. This will be different from the month of November, a month wherein I will force myself to be absent from social media as well as my real life social life. I'm participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time and have every intention of giving it my all. This year so far has been a year of firsts for me and why not finish my first novel before we close up for 2015? Give me one good reason!

I have let the modern world and all of its infinite distractions into my brain so easily. I can't remember when it happened but it did; I'm just like everyone else now and I think it is causing me to get depressed. So this social media diet will be an interesting experiment for me. I anticipate it will give me focus and will cause my brain to seek entertainment elsewhere, a place far away from Buzzfeed and political philosophies gleaned from memes. We'll see won't we?

In the interim, it'd be nice to hear from you. Really, it would. So why not leave a comment? Here or on FB. C'moooooon.

Ok, I'm going to go speak to a medical doctor now about removing the part of my brain that can still hear Faith Hill. Bye!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Blame Updike for the Ennui

Today my star is blinking sporadically, like a dying light bulb on and off and over again. It was on at full capacity supernova last night when, after dreaming a strange and strangely disheartening dream (I dreamed of being bored, can you freaking believe that? What a waste of unconsciousness! I'm reading Updike and my instinct is to blame him for this.)  And I opened my eyes to face the darkness of my cluttered bedroom and couldn't shut them again. My brain burst with all those late night musings that present themselves like jagged pieces of a broken mirror. You know the kind? The kind in which you can still see parts of your reflection but all of it looks distorted?

Hence, my slow and methodical fading away today. I swished some iced coffee around in my mouth as I rode the subway to work, hoping to clear away the bitter taste of my version of the dark night of the soul. How stupid mine have become!

There is really no difference between my thoughts in the newborn light of early morning in bed and my thoughts in the false fluorescence of daytime, apart from what I'm wearing. Well that plus the notion that everything is a just a bit wrong. Maybe not everything but just everything I've ever done, said, written or worn. And by just a bit wrong I just mean than anything that comes from my very essence, from that place that sits right at the base of my soul and identity is useless and worthless. I awkwardly jab at the notion, that maybe I share a bit too much of myself on here and on social media.

I feel connected to you in this way but I'm not sure there really is a bridge there. I feel like Indiana Jones in the Last Crusade when he's in the Temple of the Sun, standing on the edge of a cliff and not seeing a bridge there but stepping down anyway, believing he could reach the other side even though he couldn't see how. He can see it after he's already on it, after he's thrown some dirt all over it. I sometimes don't know if anyone is on the other side. And my 80s childbrain will draw parallels to Indiana Jones, as it does.

I don't really know you. Or I only know some of you. Or I've created the thing that I want you to be in my mind and assume that's how you are but I don't really know. Do you?

See? Same thoughts of a day of a night of a neurotic person. No difference whatsoever.

I spent the weekend in a house by a lake. It belongs to some friends who were kind enough to let me and my sister head up there. Originally it was going to be a whole gang of us but life is a tumble dryer sometimes and so it was just me and my sis. It was a blustery, gray weekend but the trees were still in mostly autumn splendor and though it poured down rain, being there was a recharging. I've been unable to finish the story I'm working on and, though I still didn't finish it, I made some real progress. If you make progress in a story in a house by the woods, does it make a sound?

As you can see, BEDO chugs on but the tracks are missing some rails. I've ostensibly just "blogged" by telling you that I had insomnia, drank coffee and that I have writer's block. ARE YOU NOT AMUSED?!

Spoiler alert.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Word of the Day Thoughts



Definition 1

: fully or abundantly provided or filled

a : abundantly fed
b : fat, stout

: complete

Right now I'm mad that replete cannot be a verb, but its far inferior cousins deplete and complete can be.

Today I have eaten only almonds and donuts; I am replete with emptiness.

Replete with a cadre of oversize strollers and siblings to fill them, this neighborhood will change the shape of the city.

Tinder is replete with sky diving, rock climbing, guitar playing beardos and my thumb hurts.

The cruelest trick of our collective brain is to convince that our lives will end in repletion.

Facebook brims with clever curation and my shortfall is replete.

My memory, replete and drunk, says our kiss was really big. Reality, replete and sober, sticks out his tongue and then his foot.

I stumble forward into the rest of my evening, replete and frustrated.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What a Weirdo

Five weird things I did when I was a kid:

1) I tried to flush my sister down the toilet. My sister is three years older than I am and I was about 2 at the time. I can neither confirm nor deny the intent, since I was in the blissful pre-memory stage of life, toddling around on chubby thighs like crispy brown pupa. I only know what my mother says she walked in on after hearing my sister screaming bloody murder in the bathroom: a pint sized me holding my sister down on the toilet by the shoulder while trying to simultaneously reach for the flusher by standing on my tip toes. This tale has become the stuff of family legend.

2) I was notorious for going to the doctor who not only a) had a coca cola machine in the lobby that dispensed glass bottles of soda...SODA....to his patients but b) also gave out lollipops to the kids after their exam, and asking for an "extra" lollipop to "give to my sister". I would then proceed to shove both lollipops in my chubby face before reaching the lobby again. This falls into a blurry category which could be "weird stuff I did when I was a kid" OR "mean stuff I did when I was a kid." You make the call about which is which.

3) I begged my parents to let me see "Dragnet: the Movie" in the theater by myself. What on earth I could possibly have seen or read or heard about this film that made me think it was in any way interesting is utterly beyond me. I haven't seen the film since that one time but I'm reasonably certain it involved two middle aged white men police officers trying to solve a crime involving a Satanic cult-like group kidnapping some rich lady. Or maybe it was jewels. I can't say for certain. I only have a vivid memory of escaping the Louisiana heat by sitting in the theater alone and eating my favorite snack on the face of the earth: movie popcorn that I bought myself. There have been few instances since that afternoon that mean utter bliss for me. Just always know that I'd rather be alone at the movies, eating popcorn with abandon. Or reading a book. Anyway, I guess I must have liked the stupid movie or maybe it was just that I got to go alone for the first time.

4) I was SUPER duper maxi extreme ultra into Handel. Yes, this Handel:

I started to learn the flute around the age of 11 and it came quite easily for me so I threw myself into it completely. The highlights of my time spent in an otherwise very lonely and ostracizing school in the deep south as a visibly obvious minority, overweight girl were all spent learning how to play classical pieces for the flute. As a result, and as is my nature, I read everything I could find and listened to everything at my disposal (remember how I'm old? That wasn't much) about my favorite composers, Mozart and Handel and in particular The Messiah and Music for the Royal Fireworks and Water Music which was. my. jam. I still, to this very day, have the cassette recording that I wore out when I was 12 because, that's totally normal. To be crushing really hard on a bulbous, old white guy who had been dead for hundreds of years. Since then, I've studied music as an undergrad in college and my tastes leaned more toward the Romantics and replaced my affection for Handel and Mozart with Brahms and Rachmaninoff. Yet I cannot hear that bombastic, rococo symphony of sound without welling up, not so much for the music, but rather for that awkward little girl in the coke bottle glasses alone in her room.

5) I had an obsession with Consumer Reports. In the 80s, the consumer advice magazine Consumer Reports (it still exists today and people still swear by it today, including me...I have bought my cars and assorted other big ticket items based on its recommendations) had a TV show that aired on HBO. My memory on the format is fuzzy since I was around 7 or 8 when I was really into it but I'm pretty sure the episodes were around 30 min each and focused on a theme like, washer and dryers or televisions or cars. What I know for certain is that this program used dramatizations to demonstrate....I have no recollection. I just know that something utterly fascinated me about these dramatizations. I remember there was one during the episode which must have been about hair dryers, and they were cautioning against using hair dryers near water. (Older people: was this some kind of epidemic in the 80s? People getting electrocuted by their hair dryers??) And the dramatization showed only the feet of a man getting out of his way too full bathtub, not even drying himself and immediately beginning to blow dry his hair while standing in a puddle of his own body's bathwater drops. The bathroom, or my memory of it, was in almost complete darkness. The drama ended with a big pop and electric flashes and the man's feet collapsing to the floor. I remember the terror with which I then eyed my mother's hair dryer and told her that "Consumer Reports says you shouldn't dry your hair if you are too wet." Apparently my family was used to this obsession because I would advise them on all the products I learned about on Consumer Reports. I mean that's totally normal, right? For an elementary school child to be obsessed with consumer products and their rating systems?

Oh I found a segment from one of the episodes. Not the one I described above but this is the kind of shit I couldn't miss when it was on.

I told you I was weird.

Monday, October 19, 2015

My weekend by decades

Another silent weekend on the blog. Whoops. I've been busy doing things.

Friday night I went Dutch Kills for a few gimlets and to catch up with Lauren, who I haven't seen in a few weeks. I really like that bar, its nondescript facade belying the warm light and high spirits of what's inside. Also, I like the idea of Long Island City way more than the actual neighborhood. Or at least that is what I tell myself when I feel a pang of jealousy at the impossibility of my living there. I hearken back to the memories I have of LIC being a shitbox of a neighborhood and how easily I could have accessed it; I am adept at being too early for some things, too late for others and pretty much always tripping on one shoe lace or other.

I spent Saturday working my occasional library job, which also happens to be my favorite one and caught up and checked in and enjoyed the relative silence of a less dense population with fewer computers and accompanying issues and, amazingly, way more staff than where I usually am.

I spent the night at my parents' house and it was a strange series of events, none of which I'll elaborate in a public blog that has left me pondering whether or not everyone's parental relationships are as fraught with roller coaster conversations and layer cakes of history as mine seem to be. Or do most people just like, watch TV together and not talk at all? I only know for certain that I grow up a little more every time I come home from a weekend at the folks.

Sunday was a lovely, if chilly afternoon spent a a christening/birthday party for Marianne's sons. There was a ton of food and booze and babies and falling leaves and wood smoke in the air and it was a pleasant afternoon spent chatting and enjoying the 80s playlist that permeated the backyard.

That party really made me feel older than I am. Like I was in my 40s but only because I was drinking wine by a fire pit, talking about work and there were kids running around who belonged to people my age or younger and everyone was paired off or had been or wanted to be. It was a different feeling from the night before at my parent's house when I felt 18, still searching for an answer from someone who still sought the answers herself but not knowing it. Or the night before when I felt 27, when entering the warm light of a bar on a Friday night in autumn could augur stumbling home alone in a clumsy tumble of angst or stumbling to a strange home in a clumsy tumble of limbs. I guess I'm like Whitman: I am large, I contain multitudes. Except mine would be: I am old, I contain decades.

That's all I got. Whachu got?

Friday, October 16, 2015


There is perfect weather just outside the walls of this library. I can see 40% of it from my seat.

But just like that odd, trapezoided view, I am trudging through a work day. I am thankful I have the weekend to look forward to. Though I feel 90% better, I'm still not 100%, physically. Then again, I don't ever feel 100% unless I'm lying down, reading. I digress. It is a beautiful morning and my commute was perfectly timed.

All the public transportation greeted me on time and pulled into the stations/bus stops as though to say GOOD MORNING YOU FABULOUS BITCH! Ok, I might be exaggerating a bit. I just feel ok because my voice is, like 80%  back. (I still go to talk and 50% of the time it comes out as a whisper but whispering makes me mysterious.)

This morning in La Coronita was the farmer's market and I had about 20 minutes to kill before I had to report to work so I walked it. It was only a block long but jam packed with mounds of beautiful, fresh produce and freshly baked products. There was also some kind of event at 9am that had people dancing in the street, not unusual for this neighborhood. I didn't have time to investigate. I then got talked into buying a kale, onion and cheese msemen from the Moroccan bread vendor and I was not disappointed, though her suggestion to eat it with a fried egg makes me want to buy a mountain of them and take them home with me. I just know I'd love the food, architecture and history of Morocco but I had to scrap my dream to visit when I read about what it is like for female tourists there. I suppose I'll just have to taste it here in NYC. (There is actually a pretty good Moroccan restaurant three blocks from my apartment.) So then I just felt wistful as I got to work, where I just became aggravated and just like that was gone my 90% better feeling. But I'm fighting it. With closed fists.

I'm meeting a friend for a drink in LIC later and if there is anything that makes me feel 60% better for 40% of the time I'm doing it, it is a fancy cocktail.

I'll be spending the rest of the weekend on Long Island catching up with my tribe out there. It is 20% work related and 80% friend/celebratory related. I am 100% looking forward to it.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

A mid-life crisis quote from someone else

I'm working on a poem so I have no creative energy to lend here today. But BEDO demands. Here's a quote from one of my favorite authors, Gary Shteyngart which was clearly pieced together from various parts of my heart. Enjoy.

"I think of my mother and father. Of their constant anxiety. But their anxiety means they still want to live. A year shy of forty, I feel life entering its second half. I feel my life folding up. I sense the start of that great long leave-taking. I think of myself on the subway platform at Union Square. I am invisible, just a short obstacle others have to get around. Sometimes I wonder: Am I already gone? And then I think of my wife and I feel the whoosh of the number 6 train, the presence of others, the life still within me."

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Ok, so I missed a few days. If it is of any comfort to the overachieving future me, when I happen to look back on these days as an old woman, I'll take this post to remind myself of how shitty the days in question were. Because they were shitty, in ways both inconsequential and profound. And how I can't even physically talk about any of it.

Let's dispense with inconsequential business. I'm sick. The kind of sick that sounds (or doesn't sound) a lot worse than it really is: laryngitis. And it is accompanied by a hacking cough. My voice all but disappeared two days ago, making my already fervent internal dialogue border on manic.I have just been walking around without my voice and suddenly I have a million things to say.

 I have learned a bit about communication the last few days: you can absolutely set the tone of every single interaction you have with people by using the timbre and tone of your voice, and manipulating your body language. People will respond to you in an almost subconscious, mirroring way. For example, every interaction I had with a stranger where I had to use my voice, I started out with an apologetic whisper, shrinking into myself while also leaning forward to appear as un-weird and defenseless as possible, "I'm sorry I'm whispering but I have laryngitis." And every single person responded with sympathy and their own whispering. That cracked me up every time. "Oh, I'm sorry. How can I help you?"was the general, hushed response. It made me smile that by and large, people are willing to help someone who is even slightly at a disadvantage. Also, I suppose this is because I was apologetic in my mannerisms too, and close talking so people could hear me, everyone was super nice. Perhaps there is something to this. Probably not.

I've had to be out sick from work for two days and I go back tomorrow. My voice is still not better but, being the newbie, I have no sick days. Library patrons will just have to be as understanding as the sales clerks I encountered the past few days or I'll whisper so hard at them, they'll think they were in a library.

And now for the profound. I received word over the weekend that a friend from high school died. She was my age, married to a sweet man and leaves behind two small children. I will say that she was part of my social circle, though we were not close friends. I saw her most recently about three or four months ago at the first communion party of a mutual friend. She seemed herself and was getting in shape and doting on her children, planning for their (and her) future. But you make a plan and apparently god not only laughs, but he shits all over it. She suffered a stroke a few weeks ago and was on her way to recovery but took a turn for the worse and passed away at the hospital.

I went with my voicelessness to the wake last night, which is just as well. There is nothing to say. Like so many people we all know, our lives ran parallel in high school and the few years that followed. She became a wife and mother and we got together every now and then but she seemed like one of those people who lucked out in love and family and I liked to know that she was there, doing the things that families do together, the kind of goodness that, once lost, just leaves in its wake this vague feeling of dread.

I don't want to be cynical; her good humor and optimism would not have appreciated that. From the sheer amount of people that attended her wake last night (and likely again tonight) it was clear that she was loved and will be missed. Can any of us expect anything more than that?

So that encapsulates what has been happening the past few days I've been MIA from BEDO. I lost another person from my life (2015 has been a banner year in that department) and I'd love if we could make it to December with a long beat of nothing sad or terrible happening. I'd love to pink cloud my way through the next few weeks and deal with autumn as a time when nothing is dying but rather preparing for rest and renewal. Renewal is the word I'd love to see etched, graffitied, stitched and tattooed on every surface I can see and in the eyes of every person.

Here's one of my favorite songs of all time which for some odd reason has popped into my head so many times over the last few days. And now it can get stuck in your head too. I wish we could sit around and listen to it together.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

I am sick.

I am calling out sick today from the blog, because I've almost completely lost my voice and they've sent me to yet another understaffed location and I am unable to leave and so I cannot call out sick from work. Decorum dictates that I shouldn't get into it here so I won't. Instead, enjoy this dramatic poem by Barry Cornwall:

The Watch - Poem by Barry Cornwall

I wakened on my hot, hard bed; 
Upon the pillow lay my head; 
Beneath the pillow I could hear 
My little watch was ticking clear. 
I thought the throbbing of it went 
Like my continual discontent; 
I thought it said in every tick: 
I am so sick, so sick, so sick: 
O death, come quick, come quick, come quick, 
Come quick, come quick, come quick, come quick... 

As soon as I am set free from this cage I'm going home to sleep and weep. Bye.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Ignoring Superfoxes

Whenever I do these blog every day blah blah blahs, I inevitably check the online blog I kept starting in 2002. I used to blog every day over there without even really thinking about it. I've always kept a journal but I'm really quite glad I kept an online one for so long during most of my 20s because I can conjure up a memory that is easily searchable. This is in contrast to the journals I kept pre-computer (I am that old) when I generally sit on the floor, surrounded by a bunch of marble and spiral notebooks filled with horrendous handwriting and dumb adolescence. The journals I kept in my 20s and early 30s were only ever filled with deep, eloquent insight and significant observations on the nature of humanity. Ahem. Behold this entry from October, 2003:

went to sin-e last night. had some beer. the band i went to see was good, as expected. when i arrived, there was singing a young man with such an amazing fucking voice. his name was tom mcrae i believe. lovely.

i did learn a lesson last night... never remember or acknowledge anyone MORE than they would you. in other words, be careful with my regard for veritable strangers. my sexual attraction for an unnamed individual led me to esteem him greatly. this was a mistake, as, due to the fact that we have exchanged only a few conversations, i barely knew him at all. i received not so much as a head nod last night and perhaps i am just miffed but still... why give credit where it is not yet due?

having typed out that convoluted paragraph, i would just like close by saying what a shame that i set my expectations so high and not have them met,as he is a fucking superfox.

no more of that.

today i will be mailing via snail mail a crapload of resumes. i am in charge of at least looking. perhaps my foray into staten island this weekend was a precursor, and introduction, if you will as i am applying to a position there. the commute would be a bitch, but i simply cannot tolerate where i am any longer.

my head feels not unlike a chilled head of lettuce. i need a shower.

I have a few things to say about this:

  • I miss Sin-e. It was a great venue to see bands.
  • I have no recollection of Tom McRae, nor his singing voice, nor anything of the kind and a quick Google search of his music doesn't help me remember either. 
  • I have nothing but embarrassment at my dramatic takeaway from whatever happened at this show. I have spent the majority of my adult life both remembering and acknowledging people way more than they did me for awhile, until I got older and stopped tallying that and realized I only surround myself with nurturing, giving people. So I'm giving myself a point for that.
  • I have less than zero recollection of who the object of my affection was at this time, making him likely not worth the angst I put into my projection of whoever I thought he was. Does that even make any sense?? 
  • I'd be interested to remember since I described him as a superfox. I was 27 at the time in NYC so I was, in fact, inundated with access to superfoxes (superfoxii?) making the candidate pool for this particular evening, large.
  • There is a lot of cursing in my old diaries.
  • Lmao "mailing resumes"
  • Lmfao "moving to Staten Island"
  • I really can't recall why I hated my job so much back then. I had access to a lot of independence and I liked my boss a lot; we are friendly to this day. Plus I got a lot of great anecdotes from that time period. Sigh. Someday I'll look around and see little bits of silver in the gray.
  • In a shocking coincidence, my head today also feels like a chilled head of lettuce. The more things change the more they stay the same.
  • This entry was during an October I dubbed "Rocktober" (how droll) due to the insane amount of concerts I was attending that month. The entry that follows it has a list.
Sept. 23 -- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Oct. 3 -- The Realistics
Oct. 7 -- Tom McRae
Oct. 10 --Radiohead
Oct. 15 -- Interpol
Nov.1 --Walkmen

These were all shows at smaller venues mostly in lower Manhattan because Brooklyn wasn't that much a thing yet. Or was it? I can't remember. I loved that music scene during those years. I remember seeing so many bands in venues no bigger than a Knights of Columbus hall. I'm pretty sure it was around that time I saw The Strokes at the now torn down Vanderbilt in Long Island which was where people used to have proms. Six concerts in a month and me broke and all. I kind of miss being 27, but only because of energy levels and following bands around and having like nothing to fucking worry about except my latent existential panic about September 11 and ignoring superfoxes. 

My youth was wasted on me, as, I suspect, will be my age. Onward.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano

Last night I had the distinct pleasure of attending a performance of  Sleep No More at a venue called "The McKittrick Hotel" on 27th Street. If you aren't familiar with it, all you need to do is click the website here to get a sense of the atmosphere of the show or read my brief summary here:

Sleep No More is an interactive theater experience that takes place in a "hotel" which is really just a group of warehouses, outfitted to resemble a 1930s hotel and residence. The audience is instructed to wear masks and to not speak at all throughout the performance and can walk through the hotel at their own pace and in their own order either following the actors around as they pass through the hallways or by examining the artifacts left around the hotel. The actors don't really speak either apart from a few instances. There are five floors of this hotel, each with varying sets and the storyline takes place among these floors. The plot is loosely based on MacBeth and the set design, costumes, music, lighting...pretty much everything takes its queue from film noir so it is very, very dark and many of the scenes are played out in a mysterious, creepy way. The fact that no one speaks and everyone is wearing masks adds an other worldliness to the creep.

I have seen this play before, four years ago for my birthday when a group of some of my very best friends came with me. I'll admit to being tipsy that first go around but I was blown away back then by the level of detail and the truly unique experience of being immersed in this dark world. Since Rowan is visiting, and I had always wanted to return, we took her to see it. It is the kind of experience that is very individual and can be different each time you do it.

When you first enter the building, you have to "check in" to the hotel and you are given a playing card with a number and suit. You then have to walk through a very, very dark hallway that immediately offers a huge sense of disorientation. As we zig zagged our way through the corridor, I had the notion that it was an effective way to leave you feeling you had transported back in time, a notion reinforced when you enter a speakeasy type lounge where you wait for your card number to be called, after which you are transported to the hotel via elevator. Inside the speakeasy are already actors from the production, but you don't really realize it until they start talking; they sound very 1930s and are dressed from the period. There is also a singer and you can order old timey cocktails, of which I did. I had a gimlet and it was delightful.

I don't want to get into too many specifics about the actual show in case there is anyone reading this who wants to go (I'll go with you!) and doesn't want anything spoiled. But I do want to tell you about how the actress who played Lady Macbeth kidnapped me from my group. I didn't know this, since my first experience at the show didn't feature anything but me walking around the hotel following various actors but there are "hidden" scenes that selected audience members can experience if they are chosen from the crowd. Last night I got chosen and I'm not even certain how. One moment she was standing on the other side of the room, set up to resemble a closed piano bar, in a beautiful red gown and the next she was approaching me and caressing my cheek under my mask. She grabbed my hand and led me to the hallway outside the room, the rest of the group around me in tow. She whispered in my ear to stay where I was because she had "something special" for me. So I did as I was told and she disappeared behind a door. We were all waiting outside the door and a minute later she opened the door just wide enough for me to enter behind her and then shut it! I found myself in a small parlor that was blue tinted but mostly very dark. She started to caress my face again in a "we might make out" way. But instead she took off my mask and started cackling. Her lips were full and red and as she laughed, there was the sound of a thunderclap in the distance and the lights flashed as though there was lightning. I almost peed myself.

She said, as she was caressing my face that she had waited so long for me to come back. "I've been waiting for you, Agnes!" She was saying this as she dragged me to the sofa and started telling me a story about a shipwreck. She was pouring water into a teacup and then put a little origami ship on top of the water in it. The story of the shipwreck involved sightings of demons climbing the masts. As she told this part of the story, she started stirring the tea cup and it turned blood red. She jumped up suddenly and said it was the anniversary of the shipwreck and then she grabbed me by the waist and dragged me into this pitch black annex of the room we were in. There was water spraying from somewhere and I couldn't see anything but she was holding on to me and i was holding on to her and I felt the beading of her evening gown and she was screaming something about the waves...I couldn't focus b/c I was freaking out. The noise stopped but it was still pitch black. She stood behind me and put the mask back on my head, turned me around and kissed the top of it. Then she put something small and wet in my hand and said something like "remember that there are things done that can't be undone" or something and abruptly shoved me out a door and closed it again and I found myself totally disoriented in a room I had been in before but was nowhere near where I entered. Since you can't talk at all during the performance, I couldn't even tell anyone what had just happened! I looked at my had and it was a wet cotton ball that was blood red and had left my palm looking bloodstained. It is probably the coolest thing that has happened to me while wearing a mask. Maybe.

I was able to eventually find my group again and managed to make it to the end of the show without being kidnapped again. Here's a photo of my mask, with Lady Macbeth's lips on the forehead.

And even though I really want to describe in detail the entire experience (yes, that was just a small fraction of a two plus hour experience) it is really something that should be left to experience first hand. I'm certain there are other accounts of possibly even cooler scenes that have played out for people during Sleep No More, so I'll leave it at that.

Actually I'll leave it at this link to a song by the Ink Spots called When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano that was playing at various times throughout the scenes and in random rooms of the hotel. It was used to pretty remarkable effect in really contrasting ways and it has been stuck in my head since last night. I now pass it on to you and you're welcome.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I Just Generally Never Know What Is Going On

It's noon at the moment and I'm still trying to decipher whether or not someone complimented me or insulted me this morning. The comment was in Spanish and Spanish is my 2nd language so there could be a barrier there. It was said with a smile and the word could have been slang for something good or it could have been literal for something bad. I don't really care either way but I am very amused at this confusion. I'm positive there have been entire sitcom episodes/stand up routines/Shakespearean plots dedicated to a misunderstanding, miscommunication or someone being fortune's fool.

Other amusing things: last night at around 11 p.m. I was jolted out of my half sleep by the hallway fire alarm going off in the apartment building. I don't really know why but my initial reaction is to ignore beeping. It is likely Darwinism at work but I'll wait a full few minutes or so before acting on a beep coming from somewhere distant, particularly if I'm lying down. So my sister and I woke up at the same time to "investigate" and by "investigate" I mean we met in the hallway of our apartment and looked at each other before deciding to open the door. When we did, Rowan walked up at that exact moment, she had been out visiting a friend in a neighborhood bar and her standing right there was pure serendipity. When we opened the door she was there and I heard her Scottish accent saying "I don't know, I've just arrived here." there were people milling around and one woman going "I DON'T KNOW WHERE THAT SOUND IS COMING FROM" and pretty much freaking out. I remained UN-freaked and when Rowan said "Something is happening because I just saw a person exiting the building with a cat on their head" I was about to go back to bed, certain I was dreaming. I didn't know what was going on. But I started laughing anyway because Rowan was describing the "cat shawl" and my sister was imitating the annoyed neighbor from next door and also, our apartment building is full of potheads who no doubt set off whatever alarm was going off by smoking weed and being annoying and maybe I had a contact high. I don't know. I just know that I felt manic and tired and it was all hilarity. Meanwhile my stow away cats were trying to peek around the open door to "see what was happening" and unlike my neighbor, I would be unable to wear my cats like a shawl so I was trying to suavely shoo them out of the way while also see what was going on.

So it turns out everyone collectively decided to ignore the alarm since there was no smoke nor smell and it would have all ended fine if the fire department hadn't arrived minutes later. I opened the apartment door again and the firemen were walking downstairs from what was likely the apartment right above ours because frankly, those people are weirdos and if anyone was going to cause a stupid ruckus, it was them. I asked the very, very handsome fireman if we had to evacuate (because then I'd HAVE to put pants on) and he said no, someone burned their food.

Still, I now know that my neighbors wear their cats as shawls. Useful information for the Law and Order detectives when they come to question me and I'm too busy to talk to them about someone I tangentially know getting knifed.

This morning so far I've been asked a million questions at the library that I have no answer to. Things like "Why doesn't the copy machine work?" and "Why is it so expensive to ride the subway?" and "Why is your child screaming this early in the  morning?" Rereading that, I'm having a big reveal that more than likely I'm not even at the library today but rather in a padded room, talking to myself.

I just never know what is going on. At work, at home, in my love life, in my family. I think I should just adopt a drawing of a woman shrugging as my sigil and ride that lack of information like a wave.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Blame the Children

Where yesterday I was merely dipping part of my toe into the giant, sweaty vat that is head cold-ness, today I'm swimming in it...and I forgot my floaties.

I always look to place blame when I feel like a small bird scratched my throat while I slept so today, I'm setting my sights on my new workplace and the never ending stream of children that inhabit this particular library on a daily basis. I love children. They are adorable and precocious and they are the future blah blah. They are also babbling petri dishes and considering about five of my coworkers are also poorly, I feel free to blame the children. I might start a campaign along the lines of Feed the Children but instead call it Blame the Children. The campaign will do nothing except maybe collect OTC cough and cold remedies, which I will then store under my bathroom sink. Much to my chagrin last night, I scoured my drug supply to find only night time remedies so I was undrugged for my morning commute which is just as pleasant as it sounds. I'd like to take a moment to thank humanity for inventing drugs that quell the symptoms of head colds and for making them available to the general public. Thanks, humanity!

I attended a genre workshop this morning because one of best things about my new job is the access to and discussion of fiction. This genre study was focused on the differences between mysteries, thrillers and suspense novels. We were given a book to read which I did not enjoy even a little bit and it turns out it was a police procedural with some psychological thriller elements. The only police procedural I have ever enjoyed has been Law and Order, and really that is due to the acting. If I had to read one more chapter of autopsy reports or police hierarchy, I was going to sneeze all over my book and use that as an excuse as to why I didn't finish it. But I did finish it, just to make maxi extreme ultra certain that I didn't like it. I was right. It was like eating butterless toast. Ah well, it was a bestseller in France so someone likes it. The next selection seems intriguing and at some point we will be reading a true crime book which is more my speed. Still, I feel lucky to be able to participate in such a group and it really is expanding my knowledge of the genre, something that a lot of library patrons really cotton to. Side note: I want to bring back that phrase..."cotton to". Begin using at your leisure.

Since I have uninhibited, full time access to literally millions of books, I've taken to hoarding them again. Each day brings a whole stack of books I "need" to read. I'm just not going to live long enough to do it all and that's a bit depressing. But maybe they'll have a library in the next life. With heaping bowls of avocados all over the place.

So let's recap:

  • My head is fully submerged in a combination of throat scratches and a vat of snot
  • I blame children
  • I like the drugs 
  • I don't like French police procedurals
  • I hoard books
  • I cotton to things
  • I hold out hope for both literature and food in the next life.

Man, if this entry doesn't make you happy to have spent your time reading this blog, I just don't know enough words with which to apologize and I'm really so sorry about that.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Photo Shoe-t

I was lucky enough to have the day off today from work to spend with Rowan, who is here for the week. I didn't realize this, but the British pound goes very far here so I caught a bit of Rowan's shopping fever and we went to the Ginormous Temple of Capitalism and Money or, in the common tongue: the Queens Center Mall. I've only been to that mall once before so it had slipped my mind that there are millions of stores packed into a multi-level, multi-building complex. It's all shiny and glass and well lit and large pretzel smelling. I didn't enter into the day with any set goal in mind but I did end the day by fulfilling a several month long search for Adidas shell tops in my size which is, apparently a child's 5.

I am in deeply in love with these.
We also got an assortment of other items. And now I'm getting sick with the plague that's been lurking around my social circle and all I really want to do is sleep. I feel bad b/c I have a friend from out of town, a book group to attend in the morning, plans on Wednesday night, plans on Friday night, plans on Saturday night and no time to sleep or not be doing things. I know, I know. First world problems. So that's my blog for today b/c I'm very busy watching Portlandia and then I'm going to bed to sleep for awhile. This blog was sponsored by Adidas shell tops. And I hope to come up with a decent blog post tomorrow but I make no promises. My recent history tells me not to make promises to me.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

On my better days...

I had forgotten all day to blog or that I was supposed to blog so I haven't been kicking around any ideas for today. Rowan arrives in t-30 minutes from LaGuardia and I'm into my first wine of the evening. So instead of waxing on about some nonsensical crap I'll just relate my favorite anecdote about John Cusack. I know it seems random to you but if you were in my living room and were in my head or if you were my sister, the continuity would hold up. So here it is:

In the movie "Almost Famous", directed by Cameron Crowe (I used to really love Cameron Crowe and I try very hard not to hold "Aloha" against him), the character Russell Hammond, lead singer of the fictional 70s band Stillwater is asked by a fan of his band, "Are you Russell Hammond?" To which he replies, "On my better days, I am Russell Hammond."
I probably got this from the extras on the "Almost Famous" DVD, but Cameron Crowe wrote that line based on a real dialogue that happened when he was hanging out with John Cusack at a bar, shortly after "Say Anything" came out. A fan approached him and asked "Are you Lloyd Dobler?" And John Cusack said "On my better days, yes, I am Lloyd Dobler."

I find that anecdote charming because I love both John Cusack and Lloyd Dobler. Also, that's my party anecdote. So now you know what to expect from me at parties.


Saturday, October 3, 2015


As this truly bleak Saturday draws to a close, I sit in my parent's basement, doing laundry like it's 1997 and I'm just home from college. I'm even listening to Radiohead and singing along. And shopping for green Doc Martens and I'm not even joking about that.

Today I visited my Papa in the hospital where he'll be for a few days after having surgery on his knee. He's in a bit of pain and his veins have decided to play hide and seek so he was pretty attached to his bed but there is soccer on all day so at least he has that. I was unaware that hospitals have an entire wing for hip/knee/joint replacements and their recoveries. What is it about our joints? It kept coming up that when someone is older and they break a hip, it signals the beginning of the end. I always questioned that until I started yoga. Back when I was doing it on the daily, my favorite poses were hip openers. Every time I mangled my body into a position to open my hips (my favorite was always butterfly)

I would feel a sense of release and near elation. I was told that the hips act like a bowl into which your emotions are funneled and that by opening those joints regularly, you release stress, pain, sadness and distress. I don't consider myself a yoga devotee anymore (sadly, life got in the way of my regular scheduled classes and my favorite yoga teachers always quit teaching or moved away or had babies) but so much of the philosophy behind yoga makes sense to me and resonates with me. So I think there is something to that whole "mind/body being inseparable" thing. And if hip joints spend a lifespan "catching" all the stress and sadness and existential dread, all the while not lying, I suppose it makes sense that when one of them breaks, a person could be thrown of her axis. Also, I'm sure it just really fucking hurts.

Anyway, I chatted with Papa for a bit before they took him to take some more tests and then went to run errands with my parents. One of those errands was to find a Western Union to send some money to a relative in Honduras. Apparently this is a relative in name only that I have never heard of before today. But boy did I hear of him. My mother said we had to send money to him on behalf of Papa, who has been sending money to this person for years. I asked who he was and then was told an insane, Dickensian story of how this man was born to a prostitute who was killed when two men fought over her. The two men subsequently killed themselves, leaving the child an orphan. I sat in stunned silence because I have never been able to shake the feeling that my family buries the lead when it comes to stories about life in Honduras or even life in NYC in the 60s. It is a bit frustrating because the STORIES. 

What else? My day can actually be summed up in the most Long Island sentence ever: I ate too much at the Cheesecake Factory for dinner but walked it off at the South Shore Mall with my parents. It really is 1997 again.

What did you do today?

Friday, October 2, 2015

I Remember That

I distinctly remember wearing short sleeves and an accompanying frizzed out crown just two days ago. I'm only prone to one false memory in my life (making me the ideal protagonist to any story...writers, call me!) but as I layered up this morning and had a grudge match with my flimsy umbrella against Hurricane Joaquin's leavings, that old short sleeved feeling flew off and away from me like all of the city's summer garbage from the street under me. Today is a day for sleeping in and binge reading. Alas, I'm at work. And more alas, I just started working full time one month ago, which is too soon to be alas'ing anything, but I yam what I yam.

I don't want to speak of work today though because it is in my nature to assume things will always stay the same as they are right now (which would be a bad thing) and I'm trying to force my brain to change this automatic switch to a "go with the flow and remember that change is inevitable" frequency. Have you ever done that? Teach me how?

This weekend promises to deliver more blustery gray wind and I'm headed out east to visit my Papa who recently had knee surgery and to plow through the veritable mountains of mail I've received since I last visited home. I am anticipating The Mail of Mount Kilimanjaro since my mother has mentioned it in every phone call we've had and I know that when things collect, her nerves get jangly. I'm certain there will be coupons and voter info and credit card offers and other nonsense that was born to be shredded. Still, it makes me a bit jumpy to think I have mail I haven't checked in a month; like someone would have decided to pick September to write me a letter. Wishful thinking. As wishful as my thinking around a year or so ago when I tried to single-handedly revitalize the custom of letter writing. No one I sent letters to wrote back.

I HAVE, however, joined Snapchat, that bastion for the short attention spanned. I'm only a little obsessed with it and I have a feeling my obsession will be as short lived as a snap. Also, I think this foray into MODERN LIFE has contributed to my proclivity for false memories. It sharpens my sense memory that I've seen and done things that I never saw or did, like that time I proclaimed in this blog that I only ever had one false memory in my life. I didn't do that. Did I?